Teacher ed: Dump the American dream

Future teachers will be required to repudiate the American dream — “the idea that in this country, hardworking people of every race, color and creed can get ahead on their own merits” == at University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus, writes Katherine Kersten in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

According to a task force’s proposal, American dreamers will not be recommended for licensure on the grounds they lack “cultural competence” to teach non-white students.

The report advocates making race, class and gender politics the “overarching framework” for all teaching courses at the U.

. . . The first step toward “cultural competence,” says the task group, is for future teachers to recognize — and confess — their own bigotry.

The task group recommends requiring prospective teachers to prepare a report on their prejudices and stereotypes with points for admitting to bias.

The goal of these exercises, in the task group’s words, is to ensure that “future teachers will be able to discuss their own histories and current thinking drawing on notions of white privilege, hegemonic masculinity, heteronormativity, and internalized oppression.”

. . . In particular, aspiring teachers must be able “to explain how institutional racism works in schools.”

Finally, future teachers would be required to analyze the “myth of meritocracy in the United States,” the “history of demands for assimilation to white, middle-class, Christian meanings and values, [and] history of white racism, with special focus on current colorblind ideology.”

Those who resist would be subject to a “remediation plan.”

I envision prospective teachers who think students of all colors, creeds, classes and sexual orientations are capable of learning, if they’re taught well and do the work. But the time they might have spent learning how to teach reading, writing, math, science or history has been devoted to faddish drivel.

In a letter to the university president, FIRE argues the plan — which includes denying admission to applicants with the wrong beliefs — is unconstitutional, “a severe affront to liberty and a disservice to the very ideal of a liberating education.” Here’s FIRE’s analysis.

About Joanne


  1. Robert Pondiscio says:

    Wow. The bar for most incredible thing I’ve ever read about ed schools is pretty high. This clears it with ease. It doesn’t even get me upset. It just makes me shake my head in dumbstruck wonder.

  2. Don Bemont says:

    Really hard to say which I trust less, ed schools or the writer of this linked article.

  3. Tell me this is from The Onion.

  4. Mike Curtis says:

    E Pluribus Unum…understand, entiendes, capice, get it ???

    If you don’t understand the pristene pragmatism and magnificence of this motto, then you are not one of us.

  5. Well, do you trust FIRE?

  6. I’m not sure what social justice training has to do with dumping the American Dream. If anything, it is about the attempt to expand access to it (it has some good points and bad, imo, but probably shouldn’t be a framework for teacher training).

  7. It is because of junk like this that I became a Republican when I went to college (1990-1994). I thought (hoped?) that colleges had gotten past this. I guess not. Frankly depressing.

  8. I have little doubt that many ed schools already reject candidates who hold unorthodox views. Minnesota is just making the policy explicit.

  9. Has there been any response from the University that anyone has seen? I’ve been scouring the web looking for some comment or clarification — or word that this is a hoax — but have seen nothing.

  10. Trey Wodele says:

    Katherine Kersten consistently bends the truth to serve her own preconceived notions. Anything she “reports” should be read with a great deal of skepticism. I can’t decide if she actually believes what she writes, or if she just likes to up her profile by stirring up a dust storm with each column. I’m not stating a comment or opinion on this issue, but I’m a little surprised to see Kersten’s column quoted here.

  11. For those of you that missed Annoying Old Guy’s post above, let me repeat what he said, “Well, do you trust FIRE?”

  12. Instead of dumping the American dream we need to dump the schools of education. Alernative certification – NOW.

    Hey, hey, ho, ho the schools of ed have got to go.

    Talk about handing your critics the weapons to destroy you. Geez.

  13. BadaBing, Annoying Old Guy, are you saying the quotes are inaccurate in the article?

  14. “…Well, do you trust FIRE?”

    Frankly? YES!

  15. See FIRE’s letter to the president of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities here.

  16. FIRE is one of the best organizations in education. They act as perhaps the only check on the unbounded egregiousness of colleges.

  17. I’ve been writing about this topic for years now. I compare it to Jason or Michael Meyers–it just won’t die.

  18. And this action by an ed school surprises anyone because…….Bueller? Bueller? Ed schools are the intellectual dregs of any university. They should be abandoned and their monopoly on licensing teachers should cease. In any case, a teacher needs a license like a fish needs a bicycle.

    In many cases, ed schools don’t have to reject candidates with views that differ from the intellectually weak, radical professors in these departments. The candidates self-select by majoring in subjects that are unrelated to education or leave the department after they have taken a course or two and realize that most of what they hear in these silly courses is nonsense.

    And, yes, I’d trust FIRE with my life. As Swede indicated, this organization is the only one that has the gumption to stand up to the destructive political correctness that inhabits our colleges and universities.

  19. Isn’t the American Dream where this guy pushes his girlfriend off their boat so she drowns?

    I myself prefer that dream over Pol Pot’s.

    The Khmer Rouge in the Twin Cities. Imagine that.

  20. I thought that was “An American Tragedy.” An unwed pregnant female was a drag on a guy who just wanted to get ahead.

  21. Rex, you are right.

    His wanting to get ahead was the dream.

  22. Um, I think you are both a little rusty on your Dreiser.


  1. […] there should be taught to “repudiate the American Dream”. Good plan. Joanne Jacobs notes: I envision prospective teachers who think students of all colors, creeds, classes and sexual […]